Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall said he’s serious about setting up a boxing match with a Lions fan he engaged on Twitter, denying the episode would be a distraction to a team that is trying to get back on its feet at 3-6 following back-to-back embarrassing losses to the Patriots and Packers.
In fact, he chided reporters for even asking about the Twitter exchange and the aftermath.
“Why not? It’s an opportunity,” Marshall told reporters in the Bears’ locker room on Friday. “See, what you guys don’t understand is when you guys see challenges, I see opportunities. When you read my social network, it says, thought-provoker. That’s what it is. What’s the big deal? Why do you all care? Why do you’all care?”
Because it’s entertainment?
“It is entertaining, so why is it a big deal to [be] entertaining?” Marshall responded. “It’s fun. Every single day. Every single day someone says something to you derogatory or kind of disrespectful. That comes with it. Then there’s times if you go through my history of exchanges with people, there’s times where I put people on the spot and kind of challenge them.”
Marshall insisted there was a method to his madness, that this is part of a grand plan to combat bullying — yet another social ill he wants to address.
“Do you think I’m a smart guy? Do you think I’m a strategic guy?,” he asked. “This is what I want to do. I want to blow this thing even bigger. I want to launch a campaign of anti-bullying. Not a campaign like we’re going to start an organization. We’re going to have an event.
“And we’re going to have a nice ring. And have it at my ring. And get some gloves. And we’re going to get maybe Showtime. Maybe NBC can come out, produce it and try to raise a lot of money for anti-bullying.
“That’s where the world’s going right now, with Twitter and Instagram. Everybody wants to hide behind their words. Even sometimes the media wants to hide behind their words and think that they’re tough guys. This is an opportunity for him to do something nice for some kids. But also back up his words. ”
Whatever … Marshall dismissed the notion that the timing of the incident could be a distraction and that maybe the team would have been better served if he refused to engage the Lions fan.
“It don’t matter about no timing. I’m a grown man,” Marshall said. “There’s no timing. Because we’re 3-6 you expect me to change who I am? This is who I am. I’m not changing who I am. This is who I am. I’m not trying to impress you. This is who I am. I love to have fun. I’m a thought-provoker and that’s what it is.”
It’s unlikely that Marshall’s player contract would allow him to participate in a boxing event anyway.
“Phil Emery [the Bears’ general manager] came up to me [Friday] in the hallway and said, ‘Read your contract.’” Marshall said. “And then he said, ‘I think boxers have to have callouses.’ And I showed him my knuckles. You see that? There’s one right there. One right there. One right there. One right there. That quieted him up pretty good. I like boxing. I like it. So I do it. It’s a great workout. It’s great for cardio.”
Bears coach Marc Trestman said he was made aware of Marshall’s exchange with the Lions fan on Friday.
“The No. 1 thing is it will be addressed,” Trestman said. “No. 2 is … we’re in a new world of social media that we talk to our guys a lot about. We don’t police everything they do. We ask them to take a deep breath before they press that send button and hopefully they make decisions that are in the best interests of their team. But we’re not perfect. None of us are. But certainly that’s not the most important part of our weekly focus. But it’s certainly something that at the proper time we can talk about.”
Asked if this particular incident was a “detriment” to the team, Trestman said: “I think it’s all how you look at it. I think that we’re focused on beating Minnesota and I think all of us are into doing that. I don’t want to make this any more than what it was. It was a response in social media. It wasn’t anybody’s preparation or work ethic out on the football field.”